What Matters Most:
Teen Talk – Adoption – Too Many Siblings
I often try to think of ways to have meaningful conversations with my teens. A few nights ago I thought it would be fun to interview my older kids on how THEY plan on parenting. Not because they have experience in parenting but because I wanted to know from their side of our relationship how they see things.
Straight away one of them squinted his eyes and asked if this was a trap. Funny boy. Ahhh…teen humor at its finest.
After letting them know that nothing would be held against them and that I wanted them to just be honest with me, what started out as a few questions for conversation purposes turned into some great insights, lots of laughs and to my surprise even some tears.
These are the questions that I sprung on them…
1. How Do You Picture Your Married Life With Kids?
They all said in their own way that they would have fewer children. Which kind of made me sad that I have not parented more, I don’t know…I guess, more gracefully. That I made being a Mom look so hard, and yet, oftentimes it is really hard.
I always envisioned myself being a happy, easy going mom of many children. But then again I also thought that I’d have delightful, helpful, obedient children. So there is that.
They each had differing reasons for not wanting to have a large family, but the main theme was that parenting more than one or two children is a huge sacrifice. As well as, everything from going out to dinner to going on vacation is a big expense and an even bigger ordeal.
Adoption was touched on as well. It has been almost 5 years since our first two, by way of adoption, joined our family. Honestly there has been a lot of hard that has happened in our home surrounding adoption and I was really curious to hear what their thoughts were on adoption.
Interestingly enough they were still open to adoption but were much more interested in helping with orphan prevention and adoption – only as a last resort. They see how there is so much loss involved in adoption and how important first families are and that families should be kept together if at all possible.
There was a sense that hard isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That the hard stuff we have gone through as a family has shaped them into more compassionate people.
It was also pointed out was that there are many good things about having a larger family like learning to share and put up with other peoples personalities and schedules. Adding that they thought that if they grew up alone or with only one sibling and had their own room that they’d likely be so much more selfish and demanding.
2. What Freedoms And What Boundaries Do You Think You Will Set For Your Teens?
They were all over the board with this one. From very limited electronics and TV to dating at any age were tossed out there. Showing respect and expecting respect in return was very high on the list as well as eating healthfully with treats only once in awhile.
I tried to hide my “Are you kidding me?!” thoughts that were running through my mind. Made me wonder what rules they think we have had in our home all these years because those boundaries sound awfully familiar…Well, except the dating part! Made me wonder who these children are and if we even live in the same household?!
3. What Advice Would You Give To Parents On How To
Keep Communication Open With Their Teens?
Being honest and being willing to admit when you’re wrong was very important in building trust and respect with them. If you’re too proud to admit your wrong there is no way you can build trust or respect.
Laying down the law and making demands without listening was reported to be a big communication killer. Hmmm…am I a Sargent Mom barking commands? Sadly, I am sometimes. It is my “go to” when things get crazy, out of control, then Mama starts layin’ down the law. My line of thinking here is…If you don’t want to see a crazy Mama layin’ down the law…then follow the rules, right? I guess I’ve gotta work on that one!
Being interested in what they are interested in whether it is sports, baking, rocks, chess, music or whatever it may be, helps them to feel like a parent understands and cares about them. This can be hard to do when their music gives you a headache and they are able talk nonstop about every detail about their rock collection or baseball collection and plead with you to learn how to play chess…but it is, according to my kids, still important for them to know that I am interested in their interests.
Being open to talking when THEY are wanting to talk. I’m happy to report that I passed with flying colors on this one. They said that they appreciate that I am willing to stay up into the wee hours of the night working through things even though they can tell that I’m tired. So, when you see me falling asleep in church you will know why!
The evening ended with some sweet heart felt sharing and tears. Parenting teens is a lot more work than I ever imagined but it is also so very rewarding to see them coming out on the other side, ready to take on the world.
What topics have you brought up to start conversation with your teens? …and do YOU allow dating at any age?